Jean-Jaques Avenel – Waraba (2004)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 61:43 minutes | Scans included | 3,14 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,04 GB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.0 multichannel surround sound | Songlines Recordings # SGL SA1549-2
When it comes to music, “old” can be a relative term. Jazz may be a revered and ancient language to its practitioners and fans, but it’s a mere infant compared to the music of the West African Manding Empire, which dates back to the 13th Century rule of Sunjata Keita, its founder and first king. Until recently, you had to be from one of a handful of select families to be qualified to play Manding music right. But times have changed, colonialism notwithstanding, and players like France’s Jean-Jacques Avenel have made Manding music their own.
African fusions have been approached in any number of different ways, but this mix of jazz and traditional Manding music is definitely something different. French bassist Avenel has worked for years with kora players, but this time out seems to nail both the spirit of tradition and adventure. Listen, for example, to “Pi-Pande,” where overdubbed basses move the textures and melody, while the kora provides a beautiful high overlay. On the original “Batou Kagni” it’s flute, bass and n’goni that do the work, bouncing off each other in some excellent improvisations. And on “Jarabi” the music seems to travel, moving from West Africa across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. All in all it makes for a heady mix that works on all levels — intelligently, thoughtfully, and with a sense of passion about the music. The backgrounds of the musicians mean different approaches to the music, although those mesh very well — as a group the dynamics become ideal, as they show on the closer, “Tubaka.” It’ll be interesting to see where they take these ideas next time around; certainly on this outing they’re successful enough.
03. Batou Kagni
Recorded to DSD February 7-9, 2003 by Thierry Balasse (Inouïe), and mixed in analogue to stereo and 5.0 DSD March 11-13, 2003 by Thierry Balasse assisted by Djengo Hartlap (Hartlap, Paris), at La Muse en Circuit, Alfortville-Paris.